The Grapevine

‘Broken-Hearted’ Woman Hospitalized After Mistaking Wasabi For Avocado At Wedding

Per a recently published update from a medical journal, a woman who mistook wasabi for avocado has been sent to the hospital and has been diagnosed with the so-called “broken heart syndrome,” a condition that’s usually caused by emotional distress due to the death of a loved one.

But what led to this?

According to news outlets, the story starts when a woman in her late 60s decided to attend a wedding. From there, the woman apparently took a large helping of wasabi (spicy Japanese horseradish), mistaking it to be avocado dip. The report then stated that the woman immediately felt pressure on her chest right after consuming the wasabi, which quickly moved down to her arms. Despite the feeling, however, which lasted for quite a few hours, the woman still chose to stay at the wedding.

Come the next morning, she woke up feeling very weak and uncomfortable that she then visited a doctor. After an electrocardiogram (ECG) scan, it was then revealed that due to the sudden large amount of wasabi, the woman is now suffering from takotsubo cardiomyopathy. Also known as the “broken-heart syndrome,” the condition is defined as "temporary disruption of [the] heart's normal pumping function in one area of the heart."

According to previous cases, the condition is usually caused by physical stress or extreme emotional distress, which is usually caused by the passing of a loved one, hence the colloquial term for it. It can also be triggered by a fatal car accident. Furthermore, people who experience it are usually 50 years old and above.

This makes the woman’s case the first-ever that’s triggered by merely food consumption and not by any traumatic event that’s usually linked to the condition’s cases. Previously, cases of “broken-heart syndrome” are linked to severe allergic reactions like anaphylaxis, which is usually the one responsible for the heart disruption.

"To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of takotsubo cardiomyopathy triggered by wasabi consumption," wrote the researchers.

Thankfully, the woman was able to recover after being treated with angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and beta-blockers.

wasabi-peas Getting a clearer picture of a protein known as the "wasabi receptor" could help scientists create smarter drugs for pain relief. William Clifford, CC BY 2.0